Packers Trade Up, Draft CB Jaire Alexander in 1st Round
Less than an hour after trading back to the 27th pick, the Packers made another deal, sending picks 27, 76, and 186 to Seattle for the 18th overall pick. The Packers also get the 248th pick for their trouble.
Having made the trade, Brian Gutekunst finally made his first ever first round pick as general manager of the Packers, taking Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander.
Alexander was not a common mock draft target for the Packers, but at least two analyst had him pegged to Green Bay: Pro Football Focus’s Steve Palazzolo and the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who famously predicted the Packers would select Aaron Rodgers in 2005.
What we know about Alexander
Mayock, for his part, called Alexander his top cornerback in the draft. “I think he's a great pick and will fit in Mike Pettine's new scheme,” he wrote.
Alexander is a little bit small for the Packers’ preferences, coming in a bit under 5-11, their typical threshold for defensive backs. But despite his height, he’s still well built, weighing in at 196 pounds.
Perhaps more importantly, though, he’s a burner: he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He’s also a great fit for the Packers’ agility thresholds. Of defensive backs drafted since 2005, Alexander has the fifth-fastest time in the three cone drill and the third fastest time in the 20-yard shuttle.
Alexander did have some injury issues in 2017, battling a knee problem that probably pushed him a bit further down the draft board. Beyond those concerns, Alexander is projected to be at the very least a solid nickel corner.
How Alexander helps the Packers
Fortunately for Alexander, he probably won’t be counted on to come in and start for the Packers right away. With Tramon Williams and Davon House already in the fold along with 2017 second round pick Kevin King, Alexander doesn’t have to be a day one, instant impact player. He can find a role in Mike Pettine’s scheme and grow over time.
Whatever role he plays, though, Alexander adds great athleticism to the secondary. His versatile game should allow him to ease into the defensive backfield and find his footing in the NFL.